The Balance of Giving and Receiving Part 2



Maybe you found out last week that there actually is an imbalance when considering giving and receiving in your family, relationship or work place. Maybe you have even decided to change that.

Very good idea.

Here’s a reason why:

During my studies at university, I was friend with a wonderful couple. They were both great people, smart, bright, loving. He gave up his studies and took a job, to support them both and help her finish her studies. They planned for her to get a good job afterwards, so that he could then go back to university and finish his studies.

It didn’t work out that way. The moment she finished her exams, she left him, went to another town and married another man. It seemed monstruously unfair.

What had happened? I only understood the underlying reason when I studied systemic therapy: The balance of giving and taking had become so precarious in this particular relationship that she had no choice but to run away. Subconsciously, she could never pay back what she had received.

That does seem totally idiotic (and logically, she probably could have, but emotionally she felt trapped). Yet this is the result when one person gives and gives and the other receives and receives  most of the time. Eventually, the relationship will self-destruct – and usually the one who receives is initiating this destruction.

That’s why I really want you to take a close look at your relationships.

What does the balance look like in your family?
How about the work place?
And finally, how about your personal relationships?

If you sense, see or recognize an imbalance, please take the time to talk about it. Gather your courage and have that conversation – finding a better balance will change your life and your relationships. It might just even save your marriage. I cannot tell you how that better balance can be archieved, as it is a highly individual process. But you will find out because all participants will feel better.

Good questions to help you along are:

What do you need more of?
What makes you feel especially tired?
What would you love to receive?
What aspect of your life originally felt like great love and now feels like a chore?

Honest answers to these questions, and letting go of any blame or judgment will help you through that conversation.

Here are some tapping phrases to make that step easier for you:

 Even though it’s hard for me to even accept that there is an imbalance, I feel shame for running an imbalanced relationship, I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that I need to see the imbalance in order to do something about it.

Even though I’m scared of talking about this imbalance – what will my partner say! – I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that we can have a great talk and feel much more in love afterwards.

Even though the idea of changing my relationship really scares me, I’m okay the way I am and I’m open to the possibility that this might be a path towards a much more rewarding relationship.

If you found the courage to see and talk about the imbalance in your relationsship – would you be willing to share the experience? Others might find much needed courage in your words. Thank you!

Image source: F. Moebius

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2 Responses to The Balance of Giving and Receiving Part 2

  1. Charlotte says:


    This is a great post. You are right. It takes courage to face imbalanced relationships. Was there a way they could have worked it out?


  2. Frauke Möbius says:

    Well, if they would come to me today, I would try to make them see the imbalance first. And then figure out what each of them chould change.

    And I would have suggested that she should find a way to share the financial load so that he would have time to do somehing he loves. Most important would have been to make them realize what they were doing to each other – and that sacrifices can backfire.

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